Sunday, November 27, 2011

Erster Advent - Advent Celebration

The rain came down, as if poured from a bucket onto people, as they waited for buses to take them to their destinations.

I was one of those people patiently waiting.  I was rewarded after a 15 or 20 minute wait when the Cannon bus arrived. My destination -  St. John's Lutheran Church.

The buses are always less frequent on a Sunday and on some routes do not run at all.  I was late by ten minutes and started up the steep staircase to get to the worship area.  Happily for me, as my old creaky bones were vigorous protesting, the usher saw me and came downstairs and ran the elevator for me. I was really grateful to him, as rain and arthritis do not make a good combination and I was in a great deal of pain.

This service is perhaps the most beautiful one of the year.  For those unfamiliar with the traditions of Advent, in Lutheran, as well as in some other churches, a wreath is made with red candles and red ribbons on it.For those who read this blog from other countries, a wreath is a round circle made of evergreen branches. Some people still use branches from the evergreen tree, but now most people use the wonderfully crafted ready made artificial ones. It is actually safer to use the artificial one as the candles will be lit.

On the first of Advent which was today, the first candle is lit.  Next Sunday will be the next one and so on.  It is meant to be a reminder of the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world.It is done for four weeks in advance of Christmas.  It is a lovely tradition.

As many people may know, the 25th of December was chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  At that time, Christians were persecuted by the Romans and many died as martyrs.  In order to blend in and not be noticed, the 25th was chosen as it was a date celebrated by the Romans themselves for one of their pagan holidays.

I always think it is interesting to learn why things happen.

The service was long, an hour and a half, but it sped by so fast. among the musical instruments played were a trumphet, recorders, flutes, piano and of course, the wonderful choir.

We sang some of the old favourites hymns  in English, others in German.  I am fortunate that I can sing in both languages which I enjoy doing.  I like going to the bilingual service when it happens as it allows me to stay connected with the German language.  When I was young, I spoke German but gradually I lost a lot of the language as I didn't use it.  In Quebec, where I am from, I went to the Lutheran Church where 3 languages were spoken, English, German and French.That was a little confusing, switching from one language to another. I can handle switching from two languages from the three languages now are beyond my ability.

There was one song sung by the choir which just enthralled me.  It is called "A Caribbean Noel" by Shayla Blake.  The choir outdid themselves there.  It was such a catchy tune and they must have practiced a great deal just to keep the rhythm going.  They were tremendous!

The church was well filled in spite of the downpour.  We were all invited downstairs for refreshments and as they always do, the ladies provided a veritable feast.  It was good to see both men and women serving.

Helpers went from table to table offering choices of the different tortes (cakes of many layers).  Some poured coffee, some served platters of open faced sandwiches, and some replenished the milk at each table.

This was a day that temptation ruled and only the very strong willed were able to resist the scrumptious tortes,

Needless to say, I did not resist temptation but fell happily into the trap of eating such heavenly sweets.

All in all, everybody seemed very contented and happy.  It was all well organized and ran smoothly.

A day to be remembered and cherished.

Thanks for reading my blog.  I wish you a  Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Frohliche Weihnachten well in advance in case you do not have a chance to revisit the blog before the actual celebration.  May your season be happy, filled with family and friends who care for you, and may you remember those less fortunate who have nobody to spend Christmas with.  Some missions to the street people may need help with serving Christmas dinner, some may need help with peeling potatoes.  There is always something willing hands can do to brighten up the corner where they live.

Have a great day!

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